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I have spent a great deal of my life battling illness. I suffered from Crohn's Disease and eventually had abdominal surgery, thwarting the Crohn's and budding cancer cells. Since my surgery in 1995 I have been relatively free from Crohn's.When my disease was in remission. I don't think my husband realized how bad it could get, but he has stood by me. We adopted our son and later found out he had cerebral palsy, so he became my career. Dan has had two surgeries and is able to walk because of them. He is a college graduate and is employed as an Information Specialist. We are very proud of his accomplishements. I am now part of the retired generation and still getting used to the idea. I do enjoy crafting, traveling and being with family and friends. I am active in my church and feel that the hardships we endure are there to build our faith. I like to live life in the "now" as we never know how much time is left.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wait! It's not over! - The Will Rogers Museum.

Saturday, two days to go before we are home!
 
Today we visit the Will Rogers Museum in Cleremore, Oklahoma.  I had heard many of his "sayings" and references to him, but didn't realize how long ago this man had lived, and what an interesting life!  We started off with our museum guide who you could tell, was very enthusiastic about his subject!  We then watched a movie starring Will Rogers.
 
Will was born in 1879 to a prominent Cherokee family in Indian Territory (which later became Oklahoma).
 
He started as a roper and entertained many with his rope tricks.  He always said his best trick was when he "caught" his wife!  Working mostly with wild west shows, his fame spread.
 
 
He appeared in Vaudeville and the Zigfield Follies.  During his rope tricks, he would make some commentary to keep the audience entertained and his wife told him to keep it in the act. He was a natural in the movies, and worked with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and W.C. Fields.  When the movies became "talkies" Will was a natural.
 
 
"William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an Native American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator and motion picture actor. He was one of the world's most famous stars in the 1920s and 1930s.
Known as "Oklahoma's Favorite Son",[1] Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 "talkies"),[2] wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns,[3] and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star at the time. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in Alaska.[4]" (Wikipedia)



Final resting place

The museum.

There were many movie clips throughout the museum, newspaper clippings and such.  It was very interesting to see some of the telegrams his wife had received upon his death from Hollywood as well as political dignitaries!
 
This was by far the most interesting stop!  I bought a book of his pundits.  Many apply today as well as they did in the 30's.

 
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We stopped and continued on home on Sunday and got home early!
 
We mostly enjoyed this trip, however Jim and I agreed that we would never go on this long of a bus ride again.  It is so nice to have the hotels, restaurants, and museums set up and paid for, but the ride is intense for me, and I did not feel the best.
 
 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Friday - The Cowgirl Hall of Fame

Friday, time to head on home!  I don't know why but the trip home wasn't as long as the trip down to San Antonio; maybe it was because there were no more traffic jams?
 
We had such a good day on Thursday but were more than ready to depart!  On our way, we stopped at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.  Not everyone loved this museum and one man said he would rather have walked through a slaughter house!  I was bored except for the section on Dale Evans!  She made cowgirls popular again.  Most of the cowgirls that the museum represented were rodeo riders!   This is not my cup of tea, but to each, their own.
 


This wagon was from the 1886 Southwestern Exposition.  Isn't it beautiful?





 
Just the cowgirls from the bus!  (I am in the red jacket in the front)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thursday, Part 3, The Alamo

Well today was the day!  I would finally see The Alamo, originally known as the Mission San Antonio de Valero.  One forgets that before the battle it was a mission.
 
"The compound, which originally consisted of a sanctuary and surrounding buildings, was built by the Spanish Empire in the 18th century for the education of area Native Americans after their conversion to Christianity. In 1793, the mission was secularized and then abandoned. Ten years later, it became a fortress housing a Spanish Army unit, the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras, who likely gave the mission the name Alamo. This was early in the period of the Mexican War of Independence."  (Wikipedia)
 
Touring the Mission of San Jose,  and watching a movie about the Alamo, brought it to life.
 

 
The battle of The Alamo began on February 23rd and ended in defeat for the Texans on March 6th, 1836.  Santa Anna was a ruthless dictator of Mexico and wanted to take Texas back.  The battle was fought under the leadership of 26 year old lieutenant colonel,  William Travis, also David Bowie (of Bowie knife fame) and Davey Crockett who had left his native Tennessee.  David Bowie became ill during the battle but did not succumb to the illness without placing his knife and bullet in a few Mexican soldiers from his sick bed.  Davey Crockett had become sick of the Washington politics and left for the new land of Texas to battle with his rag tag army from Tennessee.  The Mexicans and Native Americans that had lived in the barracks of the Mission remained to fight as well.  All had one goal in mind, and that was to die for Texas liberty!  Colonel Travis had written for extra supplies and reinforcements.  Few came to his aide.  Almost all were killed, between 182 and 257 souls perished, leaving a few of the innocents, women and children to spread the word that Santa Ana was non-
defeatable.
 
 Sam Houston  and his army later came to defeat Santa Anna with the cry, "Remember the Alamo!" at the battle of San Jacinto
 
The Alamo as drawn in 1854.
(Wikipedia)

 
 
It was a very crowded attraction.  Had we known better, we would have paid extra and taken the audio tour.  Live and learn!  We did listen to a guide re-tell the story in the plaza and that was very informative as well.
 




 




Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, Part 2 - The Mission of San Jose

Our next stop was the Mission of San Jose!
 
The mission was founded on February 23, 1720, because Mission San Antonio de Valero  (the Alamo) had become overcrowded shortly after its founding with refugees from the closed East Texas missions. Father Antonio Margil received permission from the governor of Coahuila and Texas, the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, to build a new mission 5 miles (8 km) south of San Antonio de Valero.[2] Like San Antonio de Valero, Mission San José served the Coahuiltecan Indians. The first buildings, made of brush, straw, and mud, were quickly replaced by large stone structures, including guest rooms, offices, a dining room, and a pantry. A heavy outer wall was built around the main part of the mission, and rooms for 350 Indians were built into the walls.[3]
A new church, which is still standing, was constructed in 1768 from local limestone.[4] The mission lands were given to its Indians in 1794, and mission activities officially ended in 1824. After that, the buildings were home to soldiers, the homeless, and bandits. It was restored in the 1930s[5] and is now part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
The church facade features from the top: a cross, representing Jesus Christ, St. Joseph (San Jose) holding the infant Jesus, St. Dominic and St. Francis, Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Virgin Mary), and St. Joachim and St. Anne holding the infant Mary.  (Wikipedia)

By far the most interesting stop, if you like history (and I do)!
 
 
 
High walls surrounded the missions
The rooms still exist and are quite small.
 
All the baking was done in ovens like these outdoors.
It was quite a sight!
 
Some remnants of the wells still exist but are non working now.
On the way to the church.
 
 
 
Inside the church
The ceiling was magnificent!
 
You can see faintly how the walls were painted colorfully by the Indians.  All the missions were painted as that was the style of their culture.
***************
 
Our next stop was the The Institute of Texan Cultures.  There were sections for each culture that had inhabited Texas.  It not only included the Indians and Spanish, but Chinese, German, Polish,
Irish and all!  It was quite interesting and I think a museum such as this would raise awareness in each state as to how we all got here!
 
 


 
All the flags of the countries

Time for lunch!

























Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Favorite Day of the Trip - Thursday, Part 1

Our on step guide had a surprise for us!  She was taking us to the Japanese Gardens!
They were landscaped into an old quarry before WWII..  How is that for repurposing?  They changed the name to Chinese Gardens during the war, but even though they changed it back, couldn't afford to build a new arch!  Imagine this in full bloom in August!
 
 
 



I love tha pathways and would have loved to see it in bloom, but still, it was something to behold.   



A remnant of the quarry
These are Texas Mountain Laurel.  They smell like grape bubblegum!

Thursday was a warmer day, and jam packed with activity, so ....

.....to be continued!
 





 
 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wednesday Part Two - "Enchanted Springs Ranch"

One of our big nights was at "Enchanted Springs Ranch" for an "authentic" Texas barbecue. 
 
We were met by one of the ranch hands and promptly got our picture opportunity!
 
 
This is a real live longhorn, and that's no bull!
 

 
Artificial Cemetery





 
I imagine some people have their weddings here!

 
There were covered wagon rides hitched to a tractor.  The driver explained how years ago, the rich ranchers would go on safari in Africa and bring back exotic animals such as elk, African deer and zebras.  One brave zebra had to check us out.
 
 
I guess the ranch was "cute," but it was on the cheesy side.  I am more into authenticity.  This was more like a tourist amusement site, with buildings made to resemble an old town.
 
We had dinner in the barn.  They then had a line dancer who was instructing those who were interested.  She was quite endowed and every time they had to stomp, "everything" shook!  My hubby said "oh, so that is why guys like line dancing!"  They also did the Chicken Dance and Macarena.  It was "get drunk and dance at a wedding music" as my husband called it.  I was not drunk, just cold and not feeling well.
 
The highlight was when our one little couple, Lloyd and Carole went out on the dance floor.  As I told you, Carole has Alzheimer's and went out to the floor with her arms outstretched.  Lloyd followed and took his wife where they did a polka!  Unfortunately, no one was able to get a picture of that, but it was quite touching.